Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez found herself in an embarrassing situation today after she attempted to attend a MERCOSUR meeting to which she had not been invited. Instead of crashing the meeting as planned, Rodriguez found herself in an empty room, only to find out later that the organization had chosen to meet at another location in order to avoid her.
The context for today’s awkward game of hide-and-seek is that Venezuela was suspended from MERCOSUR on December 1, after the country failed to meet all of the requirements that countries have to comply with in order to become full members. The Venezuelan government’s response to the suspension was to ignore it, and to simply assert continuously that it was still a member of the regional trade bloc regardless of what the member states said.
MERCOSUR made it abundantly clear in media releases that Venezuela was not invited to attend today’s meeting in Buenos Aires.
MERCOSUR Avoids Rodriguez, Holds Meeting Elsewhere
This morning, Rodriguez entered the MERCOSUR meeting chamber in Buenos Aires, Argentina expecting to find the chancellors from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay mid-meeting. However, she found instead an empty room.
Rodriguez tweeted the following image shortly after her arrival in the room:
The chancellors from the Triple Alliance [a name that she has given to Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay] collude against Venezuela and MERCOSUR refuses to talk to Venezuela and Bolivia.
In the past, Rodriguez has claimed that Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay are plotting to against Venezuela at the organization. Venezuela has historically relied on the support of Uruguay, a member state, and Bolivia, an observer state, at MERCOSUR.
Later in the morning, Brazilian Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Serra tweeted the following image, showing him in a meeting with the representatives from Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in another room:
The snub is the latest development in the MERCOSUR saga, which has so far proven to be the biggest diplomatic embarrassment the Maduro regime has faced.
Argentina Stands Firm on Suspension, Agrees to Meet with Venezuela
Argentinian Foreign Affairs Minister Susana Malcorra gave a press conference on today’s events in Buenos Aires, and said that Rodriguez was fully aware that she would not be allowed to attend today’s meeting. Malcorra said that Rodriguez received a letter from MERCOSUR several days ago explaining to her that she would not be allowed to participate in today’s meeting.
When asked by reporters if Venezuela might one day be accepted into MERCOSUR again, Malcorra said:
Venezuela will be accepted into MERCOSUR again once it meets all of its obligations.
At the same time, Malcorra said that she would meet with Rodriguez tomorrow to “explain” the situation to her in person:
Tomorrow there will be a preliminary meeting to move ahead with a direct dialogue in order to explain to the Venezuelan chancellor the decisions that MERCOSUR has made.
Venezuela Closes Border with Brazil for 72 Hours
Following the 72-hour closure of the border with Colombia announced on Sunday, the national government announced today that it was also closing the border with Brazil for 72 hours starting today.
The measure has to do with the national government’s efforts to remove the Bs. 100 bill from circulation by the end of this week, a move it claims will help its fight against organized crime groups engaging in currency speculation.
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